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Prasar Bharati puts a brave front on DD Metro slot pricing

18-January-2001
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Prasar Bharati puts a brave front on DD Metro slot pricing

Prasar Bharati is putting up a brave front after a bad show. Despite the disastrous result of the auction, the public broadcaster claims that its pricing was not high. Having offered the late night slots from 10:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. for open bidding, Prasar Bharati on Monday found itself saddled with just one bidder - Pritish Nandy Communications - for a 30-minute slot. Faced with a solitary bidder, now it's up to the Prasar Bharati board to handle the issue.

The Prasar Bharati board, which includes Mr BG Verghese, Mr UR Rao and Ms Aruna Makhan, is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

Industry watchers, however, say that the floor price of Rs 15 crore for the 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. slot was rather high. The floor prices for the other time slots were Rs 7.5 crore for 10:30 to 11:00 p.m.; Rs 2 crore for 11:00 to 11:30 p.m.; Rs 1.5 crore for 11:30 p.m. to 12 midnight; and Rs 50 lakh for 12 midnight to 12.30 a.m.

Although Pritish Nandy Communications is the only bidder, the board will decide on Wednesday whether or not to allot the company any slot on DD Metro. Interestingly, Channel Nine, with HFCL's stake at 51 per cent and Kerry Packer's at 49 per cent, which was barred from bidding in the recent auction for DD Metro, may still be considered for another slot on the channel.

But now with just one bidder turning up for one slot, Channel Nine stands a good chance for more slot on DD Metro. As for other probables such as Nimbus and Creative Eye, who apparently did not turn up for bidding, Wednesday's board meeting should be crucial.

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